This Gluten-free apple cake is super fluffy, perfectly moist, and filled with caramelized apples and cinnamon spice for the ultimate fall treat. It is topped with a cinnamon sugar crumble and has sweet apples in each bite!
Skip apple pie, the obvious fall dessert and make apple cake instead! You still use fragrant, warm spices like cinnamon and nutmeg but you also get the fluffy, cloud-like texture of cake with each forkful. It’s a light, sweet dessert that you’ll wish you made sooner!
Reasons This Gluten-Free Apple Cake Recipe Works
- Amazing Texture! This cake is moist, light, and fluffy with a buttery, crunchy cinnamon topping that’s pleasing to the palate.
- Delicious Apple Taste! Thinly sliced fresh apples are steeped in sugar and lemon juice until they’re nice and soft. Later, you get sweet, tender, juicy apples in every bite you take.
- Easy to Make! This is a simple recipe with easy-to-follow instructions. No fancy equipment is required!
What are the best apples for baking apple cake?
The same kinds of apples you’d use for apple pie or apple crisp will work for any apple cake recipe. It may seem obvious but use apples that bake well and avoid apples that don’t maintain their shape when cooked. Use any of the following apples or even a mixture.
- Honey Crisp: Crisp, with a fine balance of tart and sweet.
- Granny Smith: They have a sharp, tangy flavor that sets them apart from sweeter apple varieties.
- Pink Lady: These juicy apples are more sweet than tart.
- Braeburn: Mildly sweet, with a hint of floral notes.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Gluten-Free Apple Cake
- Thinly sliced apples: Use about 3-4 peeled apples peeled with the core removed.
- Fresh lemon juice: This enhances the sweet tartness of the apples.
- Coconut sugar: or any granulated sugar, divided
- Coconut oil: This moistens the cake batter without weighing it down.
- Apple sauce: This adds moisture and doubles the apple flavor.
- Large eggs: This is a binding ingredient.
- Vanilla extract: This is essential to baked goods.
- All-purpose Gluten-free flour: Use a gluten-free flour that contains xanthan gum (this thickens gluten-free baked goods). Alternatively, you can use regular all-purpose flour.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Use both leavening agents to help the cake rise.
- Spices: Cinnamon and ground nutmeg provide a cozy, fall flavor.
- Kosher salt: Add salt to enhance the overall taste of the apple cake.
- Coconut sugar or granulated sugar
- Ground cinnamon
- Melted butter
How to Make Apple Cake
- MARINATE APPLES. Peel and slice the apples into thin slices. Then transfer the apples to a mixing bowl along with ½ cup of sugar and a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Mix well and let the apples sit for approximately 30-45 minutes. This step works its magic, softening the apples and allowing the sugar to dissolve.
- COMBINE WET & DRY INGREDIENTS. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and the dry ingredients into another bowl.
- ADD THE APPLES. After the apples have been sitting, toss the apples into the dry ingredients and mix well to coat all the apple slices. Then, gently fold in the wet ingredients until combined. Allow the batter to rest for 20 minutes for the flavors to meld together.
- PREPARE FOR BAKING. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your baking dish by giving it a good spray with cooking spray or lining it with parchment paper.
- TOP WITH CINNAMON CRUMBLE. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the cinnamon crumble topping and spread it over the batter.
- BAKE APPLE CAKE. Place the baking dish into the preheated oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes if using a 9×9 dish, or 35-45 minutes for a 9×13, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- REST. After baking, let the cake rest in the baking dish for 30 minutes. Then, transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy the delightful aroma wafting through your kitchen. Slice and enjoy!
Tips To Nail the Recipe
- Slice the apples thin for the best results.
- Let the apple slices sit in a mixture of sugar and lemon to soften and flavor the apple slices.
- Reserve some of the apple slices to place on top of a beautiful design for an aesthetic finish.
- Use whatever sugar you like. To make this cake a bit healthier, I use coconut sugar, which is a natural sweetener.
- Rest the cake in the baking dish for 30 minutes before transferring it to the wire rack to cool completely.
- For an even more indulgent treat, serve apple cake with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
- Citrus: Instead of lemon juice, you could use lime juice or orange juice to soak the apples.
- Muffins: Instead of apple cake loaf, you can pour the batter into a muffin pan or muffin tin. Just reduce the baking time.
- Sugar Glaze: Don’t want the cinnamon topping? Make a simple vanilla glaze instead, using melted butter, vanilla, and sugar. OR, skip the sugar topping completely.
This Gluten-free apple cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, when tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in an airtight container. To make it last longer, store your apple cake in the refrigerator.
Can you freeze apple cake?
Yes. Once the cake has completely cooled, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then place it in an airtight container or a resealable freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible in order to prevent freezer burn. Then store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before serving.
What makes gluten-free cakes dry?
When baking without gluten, it’s important to use ingredients that add moisture back into the cake. Ingredients like eggs, apple sauce, and xanthan gum counteract that dryness while helping bind the ingredients.
Why is my gluten-free cake falling apart?
Gluten-free cakes have a tendency to be more delicate and crumbly than cakes made with traditional wheat flour, which provides structure and elasticity. Avoid structureless cake by using adequate binding agents, not overmixing, and being mindful of the baking temperature so the cake isn’t cooked for too long. Also, be sure to rest your batter before baking. This helps to meld the ingredients to enhance the flavor and structure of the cake when baked.
Does gluten-free cake taste different than regular cake?
You can make gluten-free cakes that taste nearly identical to regular cakes by using certain binders and flavoring agents. This gluten-free apple cake, for example, is just as moist, tender, and flavorful as regular apple cake!
I did a taste test with my dessert-loving friends and they were absolutely shocked when I told them the cake was gluten-free! They honestly couldn’t stop raving about it and that is what makes me happiest of all — when people can’t tell the dessert is gluten-free!
I Hope You Enjoy This Apple Cake Recipe!
If you try the recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments. Leave a quick review & star rating ★ below! Take pictures, tag #goodfoodbaddie, and share them with me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest! I love seeing my recipes come to life in your kitchen.
More Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes To Try!
- Chocolate Dessert Hummus
- Lemon Blueberry Bread
- Easy Strawberry Sorbet
- Apricot Galette
- Air Fryer Peaches
Best Apple Cake Ever (Moist, Fluffy, & Gluten-Free!)
- 3 cups thinly sliced apples about 3-4 apples peeled and core removed
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup coconut sugar or any granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup apple sauce
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose Gluten-free flour that contains xanthan gum, or can use regular all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar or granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- Peel and slice the apples into then slices.
- Transfer the apples to a mixing bowl along with ½ cup of sugar and a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Mix well and let the apples sit for approximately 30-45 minutes. This step works its magic, softening the apples and allowing the sugar to dissolve.
- Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl and the dry ingredients into another bowl.
- After the apples have been sitting, toss the apples into the dry ingredients and mix well to coat all the apple slices. Then, gently fold in the wet ingredients until combined. Allow the batter to rest for 20 minutes for the flavors to meld together.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your baking dish by giving it a good spray with cooking spray or lining it with parchment paper.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the cinnamon crumble topping and spread it over the batter.
- Place the baking dish into the preheated oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes if using a 9×9 dish, or 35-45 minutes for a 9×13, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- After baking, let the cake rest in the baking dish for 30 minutes. Then, transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy the delightful aroma wafting through your kitchen. Slice and Enjoy!